OPC and evolution

Terry M. Gray (grayt@calvin.edu)
Tue, 18 Jun 1996 14:53:50 -0400

Some have expressed interest in the outcome of my appeal before the OPC
General Assembly. So here's the word.

The 63rd General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church,
meeting at Geneva College June 6-13, DENIED my appeal. The
summary text of the appeal is below; the full text is at


The vote was roughly 25-85. The Assembly spent from 9:30 am until 8:30 pm.
debating the topic. On the whole the debate was of high quality with much
of the discussion focusing on the meaning of the phrase "dust of the
ground". Even those opposed congratulated us on a well-presented case.
The advisory committee had previously spent about 20 hours working on this
matter. There were some who had their negative vote recorded. A protest
signed by
9 commissioners was later entered citing the arguments in Gound A as sufficient
cause to sustain the complaint.

The General Assembly is the final court of appeal, so having lost here the
proposed censure of *indefinite suspension from office* (I won't be able to
function as an elder) will go into effect shortly. It is likely that my
elders will give me a year or so to reconsider my position during which
time I can recant and be restored. If I won't recant, then after one year,
the suspension will likely turn into *deposition* (the removal from church
office altogether).

More than anything I'm saddened by the decision and the implications that
it has for the OPC. I have no plans to leave the OPC and will prayerfully
consider what the decision means for me and my views.

I plan to put the relevant sections of the Minutes of the General Assembly
in the near future.


And now, this thirteenth day of September, A.D. 1995, comes Terry M. Gray,
Ph.D. and appeals from the judgment of the Session of Harvest Orthodox
Presbyterian Church in the case of Terry M. Gray, Ph.D., and in support of
said appeal sets forth the following specifications of error:

The Session of Harvest Orthodox Presbyterian Church erred in:

1. Denying the request of the Defense to dismiss Charge 1 (That
Dr. Terry Gray has committed the public offense of stating that Adam had
primate ancestors, contrary to the Word of God (Genesis 2:7, 1:26, 27) and
the doctrinal standards of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (WCF IV.2, WLC
17)) on the grounds that said charge is not an offense serious enough to
warrant a trial.
2. Finding the accused guilty of Charge 1 when said charge is not
a chargeable offense.


a. According to the Book of Discipline, an offense which is
serious enough to warrant a trial in the area of doctrine for the ordained
officer is a violation of the system of doctrine contained in the Holy
Scriptures as that system of doctrine is set forth in our Confession of
Faith and Catechisms (BD III.7.b). Since nothing in the Confession of
Faith and Catechisms is denied by the accused and since the Confession of
Faith and Catechisms do not address the narrow question of the animal
ancestry of Adam's body, the view in question cannot be considered a
doctrinal offense as defined by the Book of Discipline. (See Appendix 1.)
b. There are no theological implications of the view held by the
accused, i.e. no doctrine of the Confession or Catechisms is affected by
this view. (See Appendix 2.)
c. Scripture does not forbid the view held by the accused. (See
Appendix 3.)
d. The view of the accused is nearly identical to a view discussed
and permitted by such orthodox Reformed theologians as B.B. Warfield and
J.G. Machen. (See Appendix 4.)
e. Because the Confession or Catechisms nor the text of scripture
forbids the view of the accused, it should be permitted as a matter of
liberty even though many may not accept this view. (See Appendix 5.)

Terry M. Gray, Ph.D., Appellant

Terry M. Gray, Ph.D. Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Calvin College 3201 Burton SE Grand Rapids, MI 40546
Office: (616) 957-7187 FAX: (616) 957-6501
Email: grayt@calvin.edu http://www.calvin.edu/~grayt

*This mission critical message was written on a Macintosh with Eudora Pro*

A special message for Macintosh naysayers: